After 43 years of service to Missoula, both as a police officer, sheriff's deputy and ultimately as Missoula County Sheriff, hundreds turned out Sunday evening to honor Carl Ibsen.

The party, at the Hilton Garden Inn, was packed with well-wishers, such as former Missoula Police Chief and County Sheriff Doug Chase, who remembered Ibsen as a Hellgate High School student, and watched him deploy to Vietnam, grow as a police officer, and eventually be elected as Sheriff of Missoula County.

"The man is just so full of integrity and honesty and common sense," Chase said. "He's just so grounded, you know, we've just been so fortunate to have him."

Paige Pavalone is the current Missoula County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer, a post Ibsen appointed her to over two years ago. She appreciated Ibsen's willingness to get members of the sheriff's office more involved in the community.

"The best memories I have of him are everything he's done for me personally,and also for the department," Pavalone said. "I was the first person from the sheriff's office involved in Leadership Missoula, and I hounded him and begged him and he was open to the idea and put me through the program, and he's been doing it ever since."

Ibsen looked back at his colorful career in uniform that actually began in 1969 when he joined the Army.

"Between when I joined the Army back in 1969 after I got out of high school, basically I've been constantly in uniform," Ibsen said. "I think overall, I'm just most proud of the group of folks we have working with us in the community. Police department sheriff's department highway patrol, all just amazing young men and women, and I'm just so proud to have been involved with the for such a very long time."

Ibsen will officially retire on December 31, when newly elected Sheriff T.J. McDermott will begin his term of office.

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